Spine Program

We are Maine’s largest and most complete resource for diagnosing spinal problems and developing treatment plans. Our expert team of physiatrists, a physical therapist, physician assistants and nurses work together to:

  • Evaluate and diagnose what’s causing your back pain
  • Design a treatment plan that’s tailored to your individual needs and lifestyle (it may be surgery but many times is not)
  • Connect you to the right healthcare professionals to provide treatment
  • Help you take care of your spine so you can live as actively and pain-free as possible

It’s a highly coordinated approach that ensures you get the care you need, when and where you need it While spinal surgery is an effective treatment—and we can help determine if you're a candidate for surgery—it’s not right for every patient with back pain. We always try the most conservative (nonsurgical) treatment measures first, unless the spine problem is so severe that surgery is the only option.

If back or neck pain is interfering with your ability to enjoy life, it may be time to visit our Spine Program team. Or, if a doctor has recommended surgery for your back problem and you would like a second opinion, let’s talk. You can rest assured that your care is in the best of hands.

Program Highlights

The Spinal Surgery program has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care.
  • Maine’s largest and most complete resource for diagnosing and managing spinal problems
  • An emphasis on conservative (non-surgical) treatments whenever possible
  • Treatment plans that are personalized to your individual needs and lifestyle
  • A comprehensive network of trusted community-based providers so you are matched with the most appropriate provider and can receive ongoing care close to home
  • Affiliation with northern New England’s largest and most experienced team of neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons so when surgery is necessary, you can see a surgeon quickly and easily
  • A focus on patient education to empower you to get and keep your spine healthy
  • Open, honest communication with you and your entire care team
  • Access to innovative new treatments as part of research studies that MMC is involved in – something no other hospital in Maine can offer

Conditions Treated

These are the spinal problems we see most often:

  • Radiculopathy
  • Sciatica
  • Ruptured (or herniated) disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolysis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Kyphosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Scoliosis
  • Sports-related spinal injury
  • Trauma

Diagnostic & Treatment

Back pain occurs for many reasons. The first step in treating back or neck pain is to identify exactly what is causing it. So before we can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan, a complete medical history and physical examination are necessary. This gives us a clearer picture of what’s causing your back or neck problem, and whether additional diagnostic tests are needed. If further tests are needed, we have all the most advanced technology available right here at our center, so everything usually can be done in one visit.

Quality Outcomes

Quality Outcomes in Spinal Surgery FY 2013

  • 3.12 days average length of stay compared with the national benchmark of 3.75 days
  • 1.3% spine readmissions rate for FY13.
  • 0.45% laminectomy infection rate compared with the national average of 1.4%
  • 0.55% spine fusion infection rate compared with the national average of 2.23%

Surgical Site Infections

  • Our goal is zero surgical site infections for our patients that have surgery.
  • Our providers take this responsibility seriously through regular case review and observation of best practices while in the operating room.
  • Our laminectomy/laminotomy infection rate is well below national benchmarks for these surgeries across the country.
  • Our spinal fusion infection rate is well below national benchmarks for this surgery across the country.
  • Even with rates well below national benchmarks we are constantly striving to eliminate infections in our surgical patients.

Laminectomy Surgery Infection Data 2015



  • Less than 6 days from the time your doctor calls us to when you are seen by one of our specialists.
  • If you need surgery: less than 5 days from the time you are seen by one of our surgeons to your surgery.
  • Less than 2 days from the time you are sent home after surgery to when one of our specialty nurses call you to see how you are doing.
  • If you have spinal fusion surgery, our goal is to have you home in three days or less.


Charlie's Story

Chronic back pain brought Charlie to MMC for a life-changing, minimally invasive procedure. The drive from Massachusetts took longer than the surgery. Charlie found that everyone at MMC and Maine Medical Partners — Neurosurgery & Spine were centered around his needs—from diagnosis to the delivery of an increased quality of life.